Hail storm

How to Deal with Insurance Deductibles During Hail Storms

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It’s finally spring! Seldom do I look forward to leaving winter behind as I did this year. Spring is synonymous with things such as blooming flowers, warm days, cook-outs, and visiting friends after being cooped up all winter. But down here in Texas, spring is also synonymous with hail. This can be proven by the recent hail storms that blew across the Southwest, leaving a trail of damage in their wake. These storms impacted Texas, Louisiana, and Kansas, and surely have a lot of us roofers preparing for what appears to be the beginning of a busy year. In Texas alone, the Insurance Council of Texas estimated that the storms damaged 24,000 vehicles and 12,000 homes, causing about $300 million in damage.

As roofing professionals prepare to service these customers, they should be aware of a few things. Insurance carriers have been busy increasing deductibles and decreasing coverage (that, of course, is this writer’s opinion, but you be the judge). Dollar-based deductibles of $500 or $1,000 used to be the norm. Try finding a policy that provides those deductibles for a roof in Texas these days. You are more likely to find that a percentage-based deductible of 1, 2, or 5% is the new norm. A percentage-based deductible generally applies to the roof in the event of a wind or hail event and establishes the deductible as a percentage of the home’s insured value. So, a home insured for $250k with a 5% wind or hail deductible would have the homeowner paying $12,500 before the insurance carrier kicks in their share. Are you thinking what I’m thinking: “Hey, that’s what the roof costs!”

In preparation for these now common high deductibles, I recommend you find yourself a financing partner. Most homeowners don’t have $12,500 sitting in their savings account. You are going to need to combat this issue by offering financing to your customers consistently. Financing does a few things for you:

  1. It helps you secure the job, potentially on the spot, for a higher sales price.
  2. It helps your customers buy upgraded shingles, gutters, or anything else you offer.
  3. It helps you differentiate your professionalism from the dozens of other roofers that will surely be knocking on the homeowner’s door.

So how do you find a finance partner? Talk to your local bank or credit union, set yourself up to accept credit cards, and look for national home improvement lending partners. Years ago, GAF partnered with Wells Fargo Home Projects as our lending partner vendor. Well over half of all the applications submitted have been approved – and the best part? You get paid the day after the job is completed! Speak to your GAF Territory Manager for more information about this valuable resource. For Master Elites and Certified Contractors, visit the Certified Contractor Zone and fill out an application or directly contact Wells Fargo Retail Services at 1-800-694-0259.

 



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